To Hawky <3
The wind whipped the cat's pelt. She ran, on and on through the forest. Blood dripped in her eyes, but she blinked it away. She was not afraid. She would be strong, she would not fall.
She felt the ForestClan cat's breath on her whiskers. If she tripped, she was as dead as a piece of prey. She ran faster.
She could see her friend next to her, dashing onwards, a look of pure terror in her pale green eyes. She would not let her companion get hurt. She would let herself die before her Clanmate.
Her pawsteps bashed out a rhythum on the ground. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. She shot a glance sideways. Her friend was doing fine; she was the fastest runner in the forest.
The friends surged onwards, swerving past trees and slipping through thorns. A defening sound of a shrill howl sounded in the cat's ear. But she was not scared.
Nothing scared her. She was ready to face tomorrow.
She glanced at her friend. The grey tabby nodded, as if they shared thoughts. And together, they put on their fastest pace, running into the distance.
The Eye of the Hawk
Hawkmask stretched, letting the milky sun form dapples shadows on her fur. 'I do love greenleaf,' she mewed excitedly to her friend Mintleaf, who was stretched out beside her. 'Loads of fresh kill, and all this sun. No more cold.' She skewered a fallen leaf on her claw and examined it, purring. 'Everything's so bright!'
Mintleaf butted her head on Hawkmask's flank. 'Do you want to hunt?'
The tabby cat got to her feet. 'I don't know. If I ate another mouse, I'd be as fat as a kittypet.' CloudClan was, due to the weather, so strong that no rouges or even another Clan would stand a chance in battle. ForestClan, MoorClan and RainClan, CloudClan's neighbours, hadn't attacked in moons.
'Come on then,' Hawkmask mewed cheerily, shaking the scraps of bracken off her pelt. 'Let's go, Kitty.' She cuffed Mintleaf lightly over the ear.
'Race you to the Stream!' the silver grey she-cat mewed, her pale green eyes twinkling like water in sunlight. And she hared off into the trees.
'Wait for me!' Hawkmask huffed, struggling to keep up. Her friend was a very good runner. She dashed after her, feeling the warm greenleaf breeze whisper through her pelt and cool her whiskers.
By the time she'd reached the large creek, flanks heaving, Mintleaf was there, staring intently at the water Suddenly, her paw flashed forward, and she came out with a small fish in her claws. The prey was thrashing widley, like a helpless kit, until Mintleaf delivered the killing nip to its spine. 'Well done,' Hawkmask praised. 'I'm going to go stalk the forest floor. Maybe I'll catch a vole.' Her mouth watered at the thought of her favorite fresh kill.
'Okay,' Mintleaf mewed, not looking up. She was staring intently at the water again.
Letting her paws slid over the mossy grass, Hawkmask stared intently at the squirrel. It was nibbling on a bark-brown beeck nut, its head small compared to its juicy plump body. Manovering herself so that the wind blew her whiskers back, she began to glide towards the prey, bunched his muscles and pounced, hooking her claws into the squirrel's ginger fur. Picking it up by its tail, Hawkmask began to make her way back to the stream.
She buried her prey under a rich pile of earth and wandered aimlessly back to Mintleaf. The silver she-cat had stopped fishing and was licking her pelt thoroughly, cleaning out the fishy stink of the water.
'Come on,' Hawkmask mewed. 'Let's head for the ForestClan border. There might be some more prey.'
Mintleaf nodded, and shook her fur, letting it fluff up like a dandilion clock. For some reason, she seemed...what was it? Hawkmask couldn't quite pinpoint it. Nervousness? Anxiety? 'Let's walk,' Mintleaf suggested, then trotted on ahead. Hawkmask followed her.
'Mintleaf,' she asked. 'What's wrong? You seem upset.'
Her friend shook her head, and continued to stare at her paws. They walked on in silence for a few more moments, until they were on the ForestClan border. 'Yesterday, my mother told me something about my father,' Mintleaf began.
Hawkmask cast her mind back to when she and Mintleaf had been born. There was only several sunrises between them, Mintleaf being the younger one. Mintleaf's mother, Honeyleaf never talked about who her kits' father was, but Hawkmask suspected it was a rogue, or perhaps a loner. 'Who is your father?'
Mintleaf hestitated, her eyes darting about the place like a rabbit. 'My father,' she answered in a small voice. 'Is Thornwhisker of ForestClan.'
Hawkmask felt her jaws drop. 'You're half-Clan?' It came out a little harsher than she meant.
Mintleaf nodded, then her gaze changed from worried to anger. 'So you think I'm a piece of fox dung then, because I'm half Clan?' she snarled. 'We've been friends for moons, Hawkmask, I thought you were better than this.' Then she turned and fled along the border.
'Mintleaf!' Hawkmask cried. 'Wait! Please, I'm sorry!' But Mintleaf didn't slow down, until they both crashed into a ForestClan patrol.
Instinctively, Hawkmask unsheathed her claws. But the patrol didn't look hostile, the appeared to be cool and collected. Baffled, she asked, 'What are you doing here?'
'Good day to you to,' Thornwhisker mewed drily.
Hawkmask remembered what Mintleaf had said about how this cat was her father. She looked between the two, searching for similarities. There weren't many, just the eyes. Both father and daughter had the same piercing, very pale green eyes. And they had the same build, they were both light with long legs.
'We're here to reclaim Mintleaf,' one of the cats snarled, interrupting Hawkmask's thoughts. 'She belongs with ForestClan.'
Mintleaf stared at them in horror. 'How do you know?'
'We overheard you talking earlier,' Thornwhisker replied smoothly. 'And that I know you're my daughter, of course. For some reason, it never occured to me that you belonged here with me...So now I will take you back home.'
Mintleaf looked shocked. 'No way!' she snarled. 'My home is with CloudClan, with my mother!'
'Now now,' another cat snarled, you're coming with us.'
Hawkmask watched, frozen with terror, as they shoved her friend away, into the pine trees. 'Stop!' she cried. 'You can't do this!'
'Follow her and she dies,' Thornwhisker spat, flicking his ears towards Mintleaf.
Hawkmask watched the cats melt away into the shadows, then ran back to camp. She had to rescue Mintleaf, and she needed all the help she could get.
Mintleaf glanced back. Hawkmask had been swallowed by the shadows like prey. She had to think, fast. ForestClan could never be her home. All those pine trees and mashes! She winced as she trod in some sticky mud. She desperatly wanted to lick her paws until they sparkled like sunlight on water, but she would have to do that later. Right now, she was being shoved about by the two other toms, Thornwhisker's guards. They were making sure she didn't dart right round and sprint home.
She missed Hawkmask already. She was her best friend, and Mintleaf had been so rude to her before she was captured, she wondered whether the brown she cat would rescue her. She had left without saying sorry, or even a goodbye. Can't think about that now, Mintleaf thought. Think about escaping.
Thornwhisker and the two other cats shoved her into a den far away from the others when they reached the camp. It was an old bramble bush, carved out into a nest. At sunset, a warrior brought her fresh kill. Mintleaf grunted her thanks. At least they're treating me alright, with food and a nest.
As stars began to peep out behind the clouds, two guards seated themselves and the entrance to the den. So they were making sure she didn't escape. We'll see about that, Mintleaf thought angrily, and sank her claws into the ground. She curled up into her warm, mossy nest and thought about how to get out of her.
At moonhigh, she asked the guards if she could visit the dirtplace. They agreed, but one insisted he took her there. However, he stood outside as Mintleaf pretended to make dirt and examined every corner. There was a thin place in the bushes, she could crawl through there and be back to CloudClan quickly. Not now, she told herself. I'll wait until the morning. The least I can do is get some rest.
Accompanied by the guard, she went back to her nest, and immediatly fell asleep. Her dreams mostly consisted of shadows and CloudClan territory flashing before her eyes.
Mintleaf awoke the next morning, feeling bleary and stiff. Was it only yesterday that she and Hawkmask had gone hunting? It seemed like a lifetime ago. Again, she asked the tom outside if she could make dirt. It was a different warrior this time, she assumed they were in shifts. The new guard nodded, and let her go to the dirtplace alone. Perfect, Mintleaf thought, her hopes rising.
She wriggled out throught the bushes, feeling thorns stab her pelt. But that didn't bother her. Mintleaf glanced round, feeling nervous. She hoped no ForestClan cats saw her leave. She began to dart between the bushes, looking round before she moved on to the next one. It was slow work, and she reached the border at sunhigh. She walked along it for a while, inhaling the familiar CloudClan scent. She wanted to see Hawkmask down here, then she could call off a rescue party. If they've arranged one that is, she reminded herself.
Her prayer was answered. There, glancing round, with a grimace on her face, stood Hawkmask, several warriors clustered round her. 'Hawkmask?' Mintleaf breathed.
Immediatley, her friend's eyes shot up, and as soon as she saw Mintleaf, a deep purr rumbled from her throat. 'Mintleaf!' she yowled. 'How did you escape?'
Mintleaf explained to the group, then added, 'We'd better get moving, ForestClan are probably looking for me-'
She was cut off by a fierce yowl from behind. Thornwhisker had launched himself at her, his long claws hooked in her pelt. 'You escaped!' he hissed, his voice mixed with fury and disbelief.
Mintleaf was soon knocked to the floor, and all the air was sucked out of her. Her father's paw was at her throat, and she struggled to get free. 'Get ....off...me!' she gasped. Then she decided that he would just strengthen his grip, so Mintleaf played dead. Thornwhisker loosened his hold, and Mintleaf reared up with a roar of a lion, and threw him to the floor.
'Quick!' Hawkmask roared, seeing more ForestClan warriors emerging. 'The warriors have control now, let's get back to camp!'
Mintleaf began to run, feeling the leaves stroke her muzzle. She glanced back. Thornwhisker had struggled to his paws, and was now beginning to follow her, his strides long and his eyes wild with anger. 'You won't get away from me, you piece of fox dung!' he howled. He was gaining on Mintleaf. She flinched at his insult, but put on an extra spurr of speed. The camp wasn't far away now, she and Hawkmask would make it.
'There are warriors waiting outside the camp,' her friend panted whilst running. 'They can chase Thornwhisker away. You just get into camp, you hear me?'
Mintleaf nodded, and continued to weave between the trees, trying to confuse her pursuer. A stream crossed her path, but she simply leapt over it and landed safely inside. She could see the line of warriors outside the camp, ready to chase Thornwhisker back to the border.
Fast as a hare, Mintleaf dashed into the tunnel, and flopped down onto the dust. She could hear the screams of Thornwhisker as he was pushed back to his territory. The warriors came back later, and reported that the ForestClan deputy was back where he belonged. 'And so are you,' Hawkmask mewed, purring happily.
Later, when the stars were sprinkled across the sky, looking like shards of ice, Hawkmask and Mintleaf were outside. 'Thanks for rescuing me,' Mintleaf mewed, pressing her flank against her friend's.
Hawkmask pressed back. 'That's what friends are for.'